Aidan and several of his teammates were recently invited for some intensive training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. It was an amazing opportunity and he got a lot out of it.
Meet the team at the airport – all the kids are uniformly attired in team t-shirt and jeans. Coach’s orders.
One of his teammates dad is a Southwest pilot, so he bid for the flight. He introduced the kids over the plane PA and they all cheered very loudly. Business travelers just loved that, I’m sure.
They had a couple of hours to kill before they could check in at the OTC, so they went to the zoo. Apparently, Aidan made friends with a giraffe.
The purpose of the OTC is to provide athletes a stress-free environment in which to focus solely on training. The best facilities, equipment, food, comfort, recreation, education and camaraderie a serious athlete needs. Most of them didn't want to come home.
The kids were kept very busy. Every day they trained in the pool twice for 2 hours each workout. They attended educational sessions on nutrition, ethics and doping. They did dryland workouts or worked in the weight room. They ate four meals. They had nightly team meetings with their coaches. They had a little spare time to enjoy the lounges with pool tables, ping pong, etc. and meet other athletes.
Food was amazing; Aidan reportedly ate about four 2000-calorie meals each day. The menu was varied and extremely healthy. Nutritional information was posted by each buffet dish.
There are public tours of the OTC on a regular basis. The public does not have access, but only view the training facilities, dormitories, grounds etc. from the opposite side of glass partitions. This was definitely a surprise to Aidan. Kind of like the primate exhibit at the zoo.
Other athletes on site included Olympic level cyclists and wrestlers. The swimmers would cross paths with these athletes in the dorms, dining areas, recreation areas, etc. These adults were very encouraging to our kids and complemented them on how hard they were training and how much potential they had.
The US Paralympics Swim Team was also in residence training. Aidan was awed by these amazing athletes. He was very indignant that the para-athletes get less attention than the others.
During his final practice, each swimmer was filmed. They filmed each stroke from both sides, head-on and above. This will be an excellent tool to refine his technique this season. Aidan was quite tired when it was his turn, and you can tell watching the video. Not just "I'm a little pooped" tired. More like, "I've been swimming 10,000 yards a day at 7,000 feet" tired.
Of the trip, Aidan said “It was better than I expected. Usually when I imagine things, I am disappointed. I imagined this was going to be great, and it exceeded my expectations.”
The trip has an enormous impact on him. He returned happy, motivated, confident and eager. And tired.
Ready to grab the world by it’s tail. I am looking forward to seeing this experience pay off in big and small ways.
Front row, left side.